California Homemakers Association
In 2000, CALIFORNIA HOMEMAKERS ASSOCIATION (CHA) began an organizing drive of in-home care workers, who cook, clean and provide personal care to elderly, blind and disabled recipients in the homes, and other low paid domestic and service workers in Sonoma County, California. There had been a 60% increase in Santa Rosa’s elderly population in the proceeding ten-year period and an inadequate number of workers to care for them – especially for those unable to afford to pay for care and reliant on the state-administered In Home Supportive Services (IHSS) program. The poverty wage scales provided for workers hired through this program exacerbated the shortage of workers for the low-income elderly, blind and disabled. Inadequate as it is, the program is subject each year to state budget cuts, threatening workers’ wages and vital hours of care for recipients who would otherwise be institutionalized, while the state gives billions of dollars in tax breaks to large corporations.
Year-round, CHA in Sonoma County continues its grassroots tradition of canvassing door-to-door to sign-up workers where they live to offer strength through organization, conducting house meetings in members’ living rooms and front yards, and delivering presentations to schools, churches and clubs.
CHA utilizes “systemic organizing methodology” – a winning combination of labor, political and community organizing techniques – to unite varied economic groupings with the CHA membership.
Doctors, lawyers, business owners and other professionals volunteer their time or donate goods and services to make CHA’s free-of-charge, 11-Point Benefit Program possible. The Benefit Program performs neither acts of charity nor isolated acts of goodwill, but is a self-help, participatory program that aids members in obtaining what is rightfully theirs in a context that promotes their best interest on all levels.
CHA operates on a completely volunteer basis and does not seek tax-exempt status; thus our members are free to decide the course of action their association will take, free from exteriorly imposed restrictions.
Members represent fellow workers from their workplace or neighborhood at weekly membership meetings of the Sonoma County Workers Benefit Council (WBC). The WBC supervises the development of the Benefit Program, and directs membership activities.
The WBC acted quickly in the spring of 2020 to adapt CHA’s Benefit Program to conditions in our area resulting from the worldwide pandemic due to the coronavirus. CHA added targeted outreach, membership “phone tree” communication networks, distributions of food and hygiene supplies and advocacy with official agencies.
To learn how you can sign up as a member or volunteer call (707) 591-9573